One of the most common mistakes that individuals make when volleying, is that they stand “flatfooted.” As a result, they have no transfer of weight from their back foot to their front foot. By not stepping into their volleys and, therefore, not hitting the ball in front of them, at a minimum, 3 non-positive things often occur:
- They (weakly and meekly) pop-up their volleys or hit them into the net, because their volleys lack the power generated from the momentum of their weight being transferred from their back to their front foot;
- They are unable to hit down on their volleys; therefore, they do not make the most offensive shot possible; and
- They lose the opportunity to hit their volleys with the sharpest angle possible —as in most instances, the farther out in front of you that you strike your volleys, and (therefore) the closer to the net you are, the sharper the angle of your reply-volleys can be.
Scott Freedman, who is a legendary volleyer because he fluidly steps into his volleys, and as a result, crisply punches them, shared his volley strategy with me: He said that his goal when he volleys is to have as small a “gap” as possible between him and the net at the point of impact. And in order for him to minimize that “gap,” he must step or lunge into his volleys.
However, please note that facily stepping into your volleys does NOT mean that you should run through your volleys, as this latter scenario should be avoided as much as possible. Ideally, you want to move nimbly — taking small, quick steps to the ball; stop for a split second to gain your balance, so that you can hit either a forehand or a backhand volley; and then step into your volley — striking it with your racquet head in front of you.
As someone who aspires to be the best POP Tennis player of which you are capable, don’t weakly pop-up your volleys, but instead, hit them with some serious POP! — and the means by which to do this, is to step into your volleys.